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Le Roy Town

February 5, 2012 - 5:55pm

As promised I have been asking questions and seeking knowledge. I don’t have all questions answered yet, but here is what I do have:

For those of you who might be out of the area and do not know I am Trustee on the Village Board. I was elected in March 2010.

I have been a case manager in the adolescent mental health system at St. Joseph’s Villa of Rochester since August 2001. I don’t diagnose or treat. I work with kids and their families to unite their teams to plan to address identified underlying needs that are believed to be the cause of the behaviors we are seeing. I am also a parent representative on the Committee of Special Education (CSE) in Le Roy.

My role here is as a leader in the community to try to help alleviate the very real fears that people have and reunite my fractured community.

Was soil from the derailment site on Gulf Road used as fill for the school? No! The DEC expert I spoke to said that given there has only ever been about one inch of soil on top of the lime rock layer at said site, there is no way that there was ever enough to harvest and use elsewhere.

Was rock from the site used? It is important to note that TCE is air soluble. This means that once rock is crushed or broken any TCE it might contain immediately evaporates into the air. We do not KNOW for certain if any rock from the derailment site was used, BUT if it was it wasn’t contaminated because the TCE would have evaporated out of it.

Is there fracking liquid leaking out of the gas well? No. These wells are too old to have any fracking liquid left in them. There were dead trees at the site before the wells were put in. There may have been some liquid from the Medina salt layer that has leaked out at some point. This is basically salt water. Salt kills grass, trees, plant life, just like when our grass is killed by the salt thrown up by the snow plows onto it. I was at the meeting yesterday at school and want to remind everyone that the school’s wells are in compliance with all codes. They are of no concern to the DEC.

What was the liquid spill at well 6? It was largely salt water with a little gypsum. It’s possible there was some iron and sulfur in the form of sulfides. Iron can stain, as you probably know, but the rest would wash away with the first good rain. Similar brines that come out of wells like these is permitted to be used on roads for de-icing and is similar to in chemistry to rock salt.

Why aren’t they burning chemicals out of the gas before using it in the school? The gas harvested here is clean. It is under the Medina salt layer, which is impermeable to liquid. There is no way chemicals have leeched into it out of the ground.

On my last post Bill Elsasser commented-The marshy end of Bunnell Park, just west of the fence line, near where the pond is located, seems like an area of interest. Who was the excavating contractor? Wasn't an excavator "buried" in the muck somewhere around here and then retrieved? Must have made the newspaper at the time. Where was the fill for that retrieval pit sourced? Is the playground and sports area of the Park a potential "common denominator"? The "natural" area, just northwest of the playground and east of Summit Street, draws the runoff from the sports fields, any need to sample soil or water here? The response I received was that the fill came from a farm near the Le Roy-Pavilion line on Summit Street. The land was poor for farming and only suitable for pasture, so there is no need to worry about fertilizers and pesticides. Track equipment gets stuck on daily basis during construction, so that specific even should not be of concern either.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to email me at [email protected]. Thank you very much to everyone who responded last time both here and through email. Thank you, Howard Owens, for the fine work you have been doing here and providing us this forum.

February 2, 2012 - 9:54pm

It is clear to me that there is a lot of pain in our community and that people are looking to the leadership to better understand what is going on and what to do. Here’s my perspective.

I would like to start by saying that my heart truly goes out to the children and families directly affected by the Tourette's-like symptoms. I cannot even imagine how hard and possibly devastating this is for you! As a parent I do know what it is like to have your dreams for your child shattered (even if only temporarily) by forces with more power than you.

What I understand is that everyone would like answers. I am with you on this. We have some answers, but many of our questions are currently unanswered. It is very clear that there are a few students in our district of high-school age that are experiencing very real symptoms that resemble Tourette's. They and their parents are looking for answers as to why this is happening to them. I am not a doctor, neither is the school district. I do assume, though, that the reasons may not be the same for everyone and that everyone directly affected is desirous of a clear conclusion. While we search for answers we should keep in mind that the human brain is an extremely complex organ that we still do not fully understand.

Initially it seemed like this was an issue strictly affecting the school district and the high school specifically. My reaction as a community leader was that everything was being taken care of and under control, no need to worry. As the numbers of students affected began to increase it started to look like maybe there was a need for concern, but the school district was on top of it, so no need to panic. In the last few days, though, the situation seems to have escalated and spiraled rapidly out of control causing many rumors that have resulted in panic.

I am here to say that I do not have the answers. I know only what you already know. I've read Superintendent Cox's publications, read The Batavian and the Daily online, watched some of the Today Show and Dr. Drew, and listened to the opinions of others. What is clear to me is that there is more than one issue going on here and that the first brought the others to light. Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of some very strong parents who desperately want answers, we now know that the site of the train derailment 40-plus years ago was not properly cleaned up. It seems this is now being addressed. We also learned that there is another Superfund cleanup site in the area. The experts believe that these sites do not have anything to do with the Tourette's-like symptoms that are being exhibited by some of our youth. It is a good thing, though, that this was questioned otherwise we might not be seeing action at the derailment site. Clearly the contamination is not even near the school. I was speaking with someone today who served on the conservation committee at the time that the school was built, it seems very unlikely that any contaminated soil from the derailment site was used at the school site. I say it seems very unlikely because the site was already known to be contaminated before the school was built, but I take nothing for granted and support testing to put that question to bed for everyone.

Howard Owens, owner of The Batavian, did some research on some of the rumors that have been floating around. You can read what he found here: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/le-roy-high-school-property-rumors-a.... I also recommend looking at: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/follow-information-epa-and-dec-situa.... Finally, this statement was released yesterday in regard to water tests: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/nih-offers-no-cost-consultations-bet.... It also includes an offer from NIH and NIHM, that was reiterated on Dr. Drew last night, for free consultation through these agencies. I hope that the families will take this offer as it seems that with these two agencies working together on their behalf answers will be found. Also I would like to call your attention to the Le Roy Pennysaver this weekend as I happen to know that there will be a well researched piece in regards to the derailment in there. To satisfy my own curiosity I have also asked my own DEC contact if the school is built on a swamp or just swampy and will let you know when I have an answer.

I am not an expert on the environment. Those of you who know me know I am a relentless recycler that even throws toilet paper and paper towel cores in the recycle bin with used tissues rather than into the landfill; I try to guilt people into saving Terra Cycle items for the school because it earns PTSO money, when truly I just am grateful to keep it out of the landfill; that I carry paper coffee cups around with me for hours and hours until I find a recycle bin; I freak out a little on my family if they buy water in plastic bottles (ok, a lot); and I also know a great deal about VOCs in regards to paint and stain and would like to see more no-VOC products used in our public facilities. Even so, the Superfund sites and the environmental questions at the school are beyond my area of expertise.

What I can say for certain is that I do not believe in any way that there is a conspiracy to cover something up. You know that if I am proven to be wrong about this I will be the first to step up and admit it. I understand why people might believe there is a cover up, though. I support productive questioning of everything. Does the (swimming) pool ring a bell? All of us live here together in the same small community, shop at the same stores, go to the same gyms and restaurants, and most of us even drink the same water, including Mrs. Cox. I do not believe that anyone is trying to maliciously cover up. I do believe, though, that none of us are experts on how to deal with the situation, particularly the resultant media spotlight.

Above all else, I believe that together as a community we can find answers, overcome this, and heal. We are strong as a team. Perhaps one of the most important ways we can do this is to try to stop the rumors. Rumors tend to be inflammatory and divisive. They can be productive if we look at them as being a tool to finding answers, but if we look at them as truth then we stall our own efforts to move forward and find real answers. Please let us not point the finger of blame, but instead unite around the truth we have and the questions we want answered and around the families who have brought all of this to our attention. Human beings are incredibly strong and resilient in the face of adversity. Let’s show our strength to each other and the rest of the country and heal as a community. United we stand, divided we fall, has been proven true after all.

Below I will paste several links to recent Batavian coverage of this issue so that you have quick references to look at. Earlier today I posted on my FB page that I was considering blogging about this and asked for my friends’ input on what I should include. I believe I have covered much of it; more of it will be covered in the Pennysaver this weekend. I would like to know from the rest of you what you would like to see from your community leaders, particularly those of us who are elected. I want to know your ideas. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing them here please feel free to confidentially contact me via email me at [email protected].

As always, I appreciate your reading this and your input. Thank you, Howard, for providing us with this forum to update people and to discuss issues on.

Today: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/hawley-issues-statement-le-roy-illne... Yesterday: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/le-roy-illnesses-todays-efforts-gath... http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/le-roy-superintendent-releases-lette... Monday: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/photos-drive-down-gulf-road-le-roy/3... http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/hochul-responds-question-about-situa... http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/statement-released-le-roy-central-sc... Over the weekend: http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/statement-released-le-roy-central-sc... http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/specialist-questions-scientific-vali... (This is not an exhaustive list.)

September 8, 2011 - 6:39pm
posted by Jennifer Keys in Le Roy, Le Roy Village, Le Roy Town, Le Roy pool.

The 2011-2012 school year has started. It is September 8 and the community pool has gone another summer without being opened. What makes this September 8 different from last September 8, though, is that there has been action taken.

In July at a very well attended open meeting, local attorney Mike Welsh made a proposal to the Le Roy Village Board to fix the pool with donations (thank you to the Giambrones) and volunteer labor. The village board in turn voted 4-1 to rescind the previous official closing of the pool and then in another vote of 4-1 made the pool and its buildings surplus, freeing them to be sold to an entity for one dollar and pledging $11,000 per year to maintain the pool.

The problem is that there has not been an entity willing to buy the pool, nor was there one at the time of the vote. A petition was also presented to the board by a concerned citizen signed by concerned citizens who pledged to fund raise and keep the pool going. In addition, the village board voted to create a pool committee to explore all of the options and try to get some answers to questions that have been asked. To date this committee has not been formed, perhaps because of the potential outlined below.

The last word that I have received indicates that the same group of concerned citizens who has been working with Mike Welsh will present an option to the Le Roy Town Council this evening. It involves the town taking over the pool with the support of the proposal made to the village board and the money the village board has pledged.

This is, of course, one of the options suggested in comments to my previous blog about the pool.

As I promised during the same discussion, I have found out more information about a referendum. The village could attach a referendum to the March 2012 public vote for little cost, whereas if we were to hold a separate referendum it would cost us about $20,000. Yes, there are town and county elections in November, but as they are not village elections, the village would have to pay to hold a referendum.

The problem is that March is a little too late to get it open for next summer. Also, I learned that a referendum is NOT binding, though it would show what the voting public wants.

I am writing today’s blog to update everyone who is interested in the pool. The Le Roy Town Council meeting takes place tonight at 7 (Thursday, Sept. 8). The pool is not a dead issue, unless you want it to be. I hope to see you there.

June 30, 2011 - 10:14am
posted by lucie griffis in Le Roy, Le Roy Village, Le Roy Town.

I have had a very interesting two days of getting signatures on the petition to get the Town and Village of Le Roy to accept the private funding that is going to be proposed July 13th to the village board and July 14th to the town board, hopefully. Many residents are signing. They say our kids need something to do and we never should have let it close. The support, they say, we have not shown since closing.

Two years ago I started a Community Holiday Bazaar that runs concurrent with the annual Winterfest. It was time we came together as a community. People used to walk around say hi to each and just talk. We have come to a time when we are too busy even to say hi.  

I did so because I grew up in this fine community. Our schools receive honors, our marching bands receive honors. All for being the best in spirit, in commitment, and all for our kids. Yet as a community since our pool closed, we have forgotten how important that is to the summers for our kids. We all say they have nothing to do. They are all over the place getting in trouble.  

Our kids in this community have turned to swimming at the Quarry and at Blue Hole behind the cemetery.  

All this is stirring up conversations all over town. People want it back. They want our elected officials to act on this. They want them as our elected leaders to open our pool. We are willing to do what it takes -- to pay for it, to have it added back to the budgets. 

I would like to say that in a conversation yesterday, I addressed the need to correct the work on the east side of the village. I apparently offended a board member. I was not completely informed on job titles and positions. Her spouse apparently holds a key position in the DPW. She felt like mentioning it that I was attacking him. I have no clue who did the work. I had no clue of his position in the DPW. I based my opinion on the Mayor's Notes from the weekly Pennysaver. Seeing there were problems and knowing they need fixing would only lead to the thought we have to pay to get it done, right?

I changed subjects back to the pool discussion. I was no way placing blame. She continued in her rationale to say the attendance was low, THE MAIN USERS OF THE POOL WERE LOWER INCOME PEOPLE, and we are at a time of using pools in backyards.  

I asked does that make me low income because I am in a check-to-check household who uses the pool?  

I did get irritated and reminded her that she was an elected official and she needed to act in the manner that the commonwealth of our community wished her to. I stated that if she did not, based on the petition when presented, it would be interesting to see what the people of this community thought.  

Walking out, I loudly stated it again "You are an elected official -- you need to remember that. We the people elected her."

I would like to state that at the beginning of this conversation she had a petition to be re-added to her party's ballot. I am a NOP so could not, but after this conversation probably would not.

I thought I would share this since she contacted a village board member who I am friends with and asked her to speak to me.  

It was a problem that I apparently offended her, by her perception of a generalized comment about repairs that she took personally.

She never once mentioned the LOW INCOME based comment she made.  

She based that on the fact that people from the Royals use it. I later found out in another conversation when I apologized to her husband. Do you realize that those people renting there pay more money to live there than those of us who own homes? I lived there before.

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOUR INCOME LEVEL IS -- YOU ARE PART OF THE COMMUNITY.  RENTERS PAY LANDLORDS WHO PAY THE TAXES. YOU HAVE RIGHTS, TOO.  

Must be nice to be so high up in the air that you can pass that kind of judgement on those below you. Last I recall, she grew up in Le Roy, too.  

Here is an important comment I saw posted on Facebook. I will not name who said it, but it sums our need up:

A community is not a community if all that the residents have in common is sleeping in the same geographic area at night before they rush off to their jobs in other towns each day. Community requires shared experiences and activities. That pool needs to be open.

"No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions."

-- Charles P. Steinmetz

June 21, 2011 - 10:45pm

Here’s a brief update on the village pool in Le Roy.

This item is on the agenda for tomorrow night’s regular village board meeting at 7 p.m. at the village hall! A community proposal will be outlined that includes generous donations of time, labor and money to get the pool up to code and open. Currently, these generous community members are willing to get it open, but have put the responsibility back on the village and town to continue to run it together as they were before.

I would like to encourage you to please attend tomorrow night’s meeting to hear this proposal and decide for yourself if you are in support of this. It is no secret that I am in support of opening it and running it, but the village board needs to hear from you -- the taxpayers and consumers of the village and town (the village maintains it, but the town participates).

Until the pool is filled in, it is not too late to save it, if that is what the people of Le Roy want. Please attend the meeting tomorrow night.

Thank you.

Jennifer Keys

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